A/N: the much promised (and awaited for some ha) Hinny wedding fic! If you've been on tumblr, you probably have some idea of head canons that will be in here, but basically this is a big ball of fluff. I hope you enjoy it!
The air in muggle London is still crisp enough that Ginny pulls her jacket tighter around her middle, despite the proclaimed official start of spring. Since the New Year, her Quidditch schedule has been fairly demanding, the season rapidly moving toward its close, so her contributions to the wedding planning process were minimal. So when she gets her first two days off in a row, Ginny strikes out for the muggle shops in the hope of beginning and finishing her honeymoon wardrobe.
Despite her seeming disinterest – which is hardly the case – Ginny's relatively prepared, carefully organized list in hand as she strides down Brompton Road. Her eyes downcast, she doesn't see the frowning woman leaving the department store until they're both nearly sent sprawling. Ginny grasps the woman's bony arms and manages to hold them both upright. "I'm so sorry I was – "
Her voice dies in her throat as she reluctantly takes in the pinched face of Petunia Dursley, looking equally happy to see Ginny. "Petunia."
Petunia sniffs, tucking her pocketbook strap firmly into the crook of her arm. "Are you still – "
She trails off, looking rather like she's sucked a lemon, and Ginny can't quite decide where that sentence was going – 'still with my nephew?' 'still living like a country bumpkin?' 'still a freak?' – so she quirks a brow, her friendliest option for a reply at the moment.
"You and my," she swallows awkwardly and changes tack slightly, "Harry."
"Yes," Ginny answers simply, the ring on her finger glinting in the late morning light.
Petunia's icy blue eyes zero in on Ginny's hand and her lips purse further – which Ginny previously would have said was impossible. She glances around, blonde hair stationary despite the blustery day, and murmurs, "I didn't expect to see you – here."
Tamping down her rising anger at Petunia's tone, Ginny crumples the list in her hand, her voice saccharine. "Harry and I like to do both, since we tend to get lots of attention when we're not here, as you termed it."
Petunia blinks, eyes shuttering a bit but she nods, crisp. "That sounds true enough," she eyes Ginny's ring again, "Can I assume you and Harry are engaged?"
Ignoring the less than congratulatory tone, Ginny nods, "Yes. We'll be married later this year."
Passersby jostle them as the early lunch crowd descends on the nearby restaurants and Ginny futilely hopes Petunia will be swept away with the stream. But sadly, she's not, and for some unknowable reason she's pressing on with the conversation, strained though it is. "That's lovely. I'm. I'm glad he's found someone to take him."
Ginny frowns, unable to repress the growl-like tone of her voice, "It's no hardship for me, I assure you."
"I didn't mean –"
It's been less than ten minutes and Ginny's patience is already run out, but she's confident even Molly Weasley would forgive this particular slip in manners. "You know, eventually your 'unintentional' slights add up enough that you can't really claim you didn't mean them."
Petunia sniffs haughtily, nose becoming even more prominent, if possible, and Ginny simply plows ahead, forced lightness in her voice, "I don't want to fight with you. I'll tell Harry you send your congratulations."
And then, after short, clipped goodbyes, Ginny wanders into a nearby chocolate shop and buys herself a large, decadent milkshake. Which she earned by not getting picked up by the muggle police for decking Petunia Dursley.
The rest of her shopping excursion goes by with little drama or interest; a flurry of dressing rooms and varied cuts of swimsuit that would drive Aunt Muriel up the wall. It's late afternoon by the time she's finished, slumping against the front door of Grimmauld Place, and she grins when she hears pots clanking in the kitchen along with Harry's quiet singing.
Her smile widens, tired though she is, and she can't keep from wandering into the kitchen, sidling up behind Harry and wrapping her arms around his middle. He hums as she kisses up his throat, pausing his sing along rendition of the Weird Sister's latest single. "Alright Gin? How was shopping?"
She nuzzles his shoulder. "Got what I needed."
Harry scratches at her windswept hair, free hand patting hers where they're clasped around his waist. "Good."
Ginny waits, an ad for broom polish and the low bubbling of the sauce on the stove the only sounds as she debates broaching the subject. "Saw Petunia."
He stiffens but doesn't pull away, resuming his stirring. "How was that?"
"Didn't have to call muggle or wizard law enforcement, so I'd say it went well," Ginny answers, wry.
They share a laugh and Harry switches off the burner, moving the pot to the side. "Can't ask much more of you."
The conversation drops for the moment as they go about preparing the rest of the meal, fresh ravioli cooking quickly in the broad pot until Ginny drains it into the sink. For the first time since she arrived, Harry draws his wand, summoning two plates from the cabinet as he slices into the crusty bread. Ginny sets two places, cozy so they share a corner of the long tabletop. "She didn't know we're engaged – Dudley doesn't?"
Harry shrugs, settling in next to her as he brings the bread, their dinners hovering over his shoulder. "Oh he sees her often enough, but I can't imagine she asks after me much. And it's probably better for him to not seem too friendly with me."
Ginny pours a glass of wine for them both, forcing nonchalance into her voice. "Are we inviting any Dursleys?"
That wins her a laugh and a weight lifts from her chest as Harry tucks in to his meal and she does the same. "Probably just Dudley I think. He's pretty used to wizards after that year."
"Sounds like a plan, dear."
"Maybe some magical person will catch his eye," Harry postulates, grinning.
"Vernon would love that," Ginny answers, pausing thoughtfully before she continues, "Y'know maybe Dudley would just pretend for laughs – it can be his wedding gift."
Later that week, Harry finds himself surrounded by piles of lace, silk, and various other fabric swatches in a rainbow of shades. Luna's involvement in the wedding feels particularly obvious when his fingers drag across a slip of burlap that can only be described as puce. When Harry'd asked her why include colors she even seemed less than enthusiastic about, Luna shrugged and said she felt bad to leave them out. As Harry bit back a grin, Ginny laid a smacking kiss on Luna's cheek and asked if she'd checked the yard for nargles.
Which was how Harry ended up in this situation, sadly sans Ginny, who lucked out and got held over in an extended practice at Holyhead while he attempted to fend off Molly's obsession with fluffy lace and Teddy's grabby and often mud-covered hands.
Molly bustles back in with a fresh pot of tea in one hand, and a long parchment in the other. "I think it's time to go over guest list, dear."
"I think she'll need to be there," Molly answers quick, smirking at him from across the table.
A startled bark of a laugh finds its way out of Harry's throat and he once again marvels at the fact that most people think the Weasley children got all their mischievousness from Arthur. "We did want to stay pretty small, as far as guests go."
She sighs and goes about making their teas, remembering Harry's preferred doctoring easily, and glances quickly to check Teddy where he's playing in the den with brightly colored blocks, hair occasionally shifting into his favorite shades. "Don't you want to have everyone you love there? Who loves you?"
Harry chews his lip, toying with his cup and saucer as he contemplates his response. After a moment, he blows out a breath. "If that's the standard, my list is even shorter than Ginny and I guessed."
"Well just the family alone, Harry," Molly starts with a frown.
"Now stop sassing me, young man," Molly chides, nudging the plate of cookies closer to him through the mountains of tulle, "You know very well you're just as much a Weasley as any of us."
Before Harry can do more than blink at his milky tea, Bill strides in from the front room and places a kiss on Molly's grey streaked head, Victoire on his hip. "Makes marrying Ginny a bit weird," Molly swats him, "but mum's right. You've been one of us for a long time."
Victoire wriggles down Bill's leather-clad leg and darts into the den on childish legs.
Bill pulls out a chair and summons a third cup from the kitchen. "The marriage is just a semantic at this point."
Molly nods and pats Harry's hand before she pins him with her stare, "Not that I don't want you two to make it official."
"Can't have Gin being a scarlet woman, eh Harry?" Bill asks with a snort.
That earns him a face full of gauzy fabric and pinch to his shoulder while Harry tries to muffle his laughter in his tea. He's still trying to figure out how to get back on track when a crash and subsequent tears sound from the other room. Bill makes to stand but Harry waves him off and finds Teddy and Victoire fine aside from their tear streaked faces. It's still unclear the cause until his eyes find Ginny laying in a heap on the floor, rubbing her hip and biting back a grimace while trying to calm the weepy toddlers. Quickly, Harry strides across the room and pulls Teddy and Victoire close, hands running circuits over their backs. "I'm sure Ginny's fine. Why don't you head in the kitchen, Grandma Molly's got some fresh biscuits."
As the inseparable duo clambers over the scattered cushions and toys, Harry turns his attention back to Ginny, who's managed to drag herself into a sitting position, propped against the couch. "I thought my days of acting clumsy in front of you were over."
"I certainly hope not," Harry laughs, jostling her shoulder. Gently, he begins prodding at her abused hip. "Does this feel alright?"
Ginny cracks an eye open, lips tilting into a flirtatious smirk. "I know something that'll feel more alright."
Harry presses a kiss to her temple. "If you don't feel like doing guest lists, we should abscond while we have the chance."
She turns her head, her lips heated but brief on his. "How about we head for a certain copse of trees near the pond?"
Before Molly can realize he's ducked his wedding preparation duties, Harry tugs Ginny out the back of the house. The sun's still wide and bright overhead, heat tempered by a steady breeze across the swaying grasses that brush their knees during the short trek toward their shady destination. Without a thought, Harry habitually settles against their favorite broad tree, ancient and boasting broad branches and wide set roots that allow for cozy seating. His back pressed against the trunk, Harry spreads his legs wide enough that Ginny can crawl between them, settled against his chest, fiery hair ticking his chin.
Ginny toys with his fingers where they rest across her middle, eventually letting hers knit together with his, her eyes drifting shut as she gets the first peace and quiet since her alarm sounded before dawn that morning.
It's a little darker, when she wakes again, Harry's steady breaths warm against her ear, ruffling her hair. Gently, so as not to shock him into wakefulness, Ginny rubs up and down his forearms in soothing strokes. "Harry?"
He hums, low and deep in his chest, so it rumbles against her spine. "Do you know how many types of lace Madame Malkin stocks?"
Laughter breaks from Ginny's lips in a low huff. "Can't say I do. I'm guessing you do."
"Sadly not enough that I could smother myself with the samples."
"I don't even want lace," Ginny half wines, head dropping back against his shoulder.
"Too bad I didn't tell your mum that at least half a dozen times," Harry snorts, "Today."
Harry brings his knees up, his jeans brushing against Ginny's arms and she toys with a hole forming in the dark denim. "What's say we just get married in matching track suits and call it a day?"
"Only if they're velour."
"Of course. What do you think I am?"
Once the count down to the wedding gets into single digits, the days fly by in a haze of pastel colors, finger foods, fittings, and honeymoon arrangements – broken up mainly by sleep and jobs. And the day of their fake wedding, which was 'leaked' to Rita Skeeter and made her look the fool enough that Ginny banned all work for the afternoon in celebration, and likely made Skeeter hate them even more than previously. Which is saying something when you're best mates with the woman who kept a certain animagus in a jar for half a year.
But things do get done, somehow, through the combined efforts of the entire Weasley clan, plus Luna, Hermione, Harry, and Andromeda. The latter made her largest and most valued contribution when Harry collapsed across her living room couch in a stressed heap, face scrunched as he decompressed from another session of practicing Teddy and Victoire's wedding duties. He hadn't even begun to consider wrestling his godson into the sample dress robes when Andromeda dropped a cool cloth over his forehead and patted his shoulder. "Harry dear, I think if I can wrangle Nymphadora Tonks, I can handle those two. Leave this to me."
While Harry blinked at her in awe, she shooed his thanks and strode off to prepare dinner, inviting Harry to stay for the meal.
And true to her word, Andromeda delivers a cheerful and seemingly prepared Teddy to Grimmauld Place the morning of the real wedding and makes herself busy looking over Ron and Harry's robes where they hang in the spare room and then sets out to check in with Kreacher in the kitchen.
If he's being honest, Harry would admit that he expected a wave of anxious energy – not unlike the morning of his first Quidditch game – to suppress his appetite. But by the time he clambers down to the kitchen with Ron and Teddy in tow, he finds himself more than ready to tuck into the near feast.
Between the four of them, they manage to get to the Burrow in relative ease and on time, fully dressed aside from loosened collars that won't be buttoned until the last minute because, in Ron's words, 'it's like a noose without the relief of death.'
It's a near catastrophe – to some – when Harry begins shepherding Teddy up to the bathroom in the Burrow and Ginny's slipping out of her room at the same moment. Hermione's shrill cry draws the color from Teddy's face as if she was a banshee and Harry stumbles down three steps before catching himself on the railing.
He can still see one of Ginny's deep brown eyes peeking through the crack in her door, hears her snort at Hermione. "I think my fiancé in a full body cast on our wedding day is worse luck than him seeing me before I've even put the gown on."
Hermione huffs impatiently. "You know very well even if he did break a bone I'd have him healed and walking within the hour."
"Says the witch who thinks Harry looking at me will somehow doom our marriage," Ginny drawls, laughter heavy in her tone.
Once Teddy's recovered from shock and regained the ability to move, he shuffles into the bathroom, Harry holding his small robes out of the way while he does his business. The door is cracked open just enough for Harry to hear Hermione sigh, "I'm just trying to keep up the tradition."
"Well technically I already saw Harry today so – "
"We're pretending today started at nine this morning," Hermione says, prim, and Harry can't help his laughter, Teddy joining in although he doesn't quite understand why.
The morning passes with fairly low levels of stress after that, Luna surprising them all with her multitasking abilities when it comes to wedding planning, and Molly remaining relatively cool and collected, only getting teary when she sees Ginny fully dressed in her long, simple gown, hair swept up gracefully to support the airy veil – sans Aunt Muriel's tiara. It's just past the warmest part of the day when the ceremony starts beneath the sprawling marquee, cooling charms and perpetually waving fans – care of Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes – ensure no one faints from heat exhaustion and the like.
It's strange honestly, the way the ceremony passes, Harry knows he'll remember all of it and none of it; impressions of the day, his smiling family – because they are his family, even without the marriage certificate – Hagrid honking into his tablecloth sized handkerchief, McGonagall sitting ramrod straight in her best robes, eyes wrinkling at the corners as she sends him a small smile, and Luna lingering in the back to ensure no unwanted pests – real or imagined – enter the ceremony. Teddy and Victoire toddle up the aisle, the picture of seriousness, and manage to do so with little upset, until they get caught up about halfway toward their goal arguing about whether she's dropped enough petals so far. And apparently, Victoire thinks she's dropped too many, so she squats and lifts a few fistfuls back into the basket, oblivious to her mother's coos and the lighthearted laughter of the small crowd.
Eventually though, they do make it to the front, passing off the rings to Ron before Andromeda and Fleur settle them into their reserved seats for the remainder of the ceremony.
And then, before he knows it, Ginny's there and it's a sharp contrast to the rest of the day. Everything's been wonderful and picturesque and ideal, but Harry's mind latches onto her, the blazing look he's come to love so dearly he can hardly remember his life without it. It's sharp and he knows that slash of her grin will live like a tattoo behind his eyelids for the rest of his life.
In fact, he's so enamored that Ron's clears his throat at least three times before Harry jolts back to reality and Ginny's giggles, the officiant smiling kindly while Harry flushes. Still, he manages a glare toward George that silences any remaining sniggering from him and his cohorts, because Angelina is mature and Lee knows Harry wouldn't mind never giving an interview again.
After, with Ginny's hands in his, the ceremony goes off without a hitch, each remembering their words, promises and vows filled with love, respect, and devotion. By the time he's told to kiss the bride, Ginny's already tugging his face toward hers, the kiss more like smiles pressed together than anything truly expert, but it's the best he's ever had.
There's a happy flush on Ginny's cheeks as they trot back down the aisle, Teddy and Victoire somehow managing to catch up enough that Harry carries them both, the former high on his back and the latter clinging to his left leg like a koala. Ginny waves Andromeda and Fleur off happily while they continue on the path from the marquee, photographer following in their wake, snapping away.
The posed photographs rush by in a blur that has Harry blinking away bright spots for the next half hour and Ginny laughing enough that it's worth it. Somehow, Ginny manages to tug Harry away from the crowds toward the copse of trees they favor, emerging a quarter of an hour later, hair mussed and Harry wearing most of Ginny's lipstick. Slowly, they pick their way through the grassy paddock, Harry attempting to untangle Ginny's hair while she re-buttons his shirt and straightens his tie before they enter the marquee to jubilant applause and jeers from the Weasley brothers.
After Lee Jordan announces their entrance and they greet a few guests, Ginny sends a nod to Luna and a slow, romantic ballad fills the tent as the Potters take the dance floor. Harry starts them off in a playful, wooden stance, expression deathly serious enough that Ginny dissolves into laughter against his shoulder. They sway in graceful circles, Ginny's dress just brushing along the wooden floor as it creaks and bends beneath them while Harry's lips find her temple, their hands settling clasped together against his chest. Despite the slight pinching at her toes, Ginny's enjoying the slight closing of the distance between their heights that her fancy heels allow, her eyes able to take in the crowd over Harry's shoulder while he holds her close. It's about halfway through the song when she catches Hermione's gaze, soft and slightly teary, from across the room. And even without words, she knows where Hermione's thoughts have strayed – late nights where Ginny unburdened herself, realizing it was more than a crush, and all the years in between where instead of wondering when Harry would notice her, half the time she wondered if he'd even get the chance. Tucking herself closer into Ron's side – who's decidedly not crying – Hermione sends Ginny a small, private smile and mouths 'love you' before sniffing in a McGonagall-like manner and tearing her eyes away from the newlyweds.
Ginny sighs against Harry's throat, his pulse thrumming steadily, as his hands skip over her bare back, gentle and familiar. His palm settles against the sway of her spine, thumb stroking gently. "So everyone just stands around and watches us sway for an entire song?"
A snort, and Ginny pulls back a bit, craning her neck so she can see his expression – lighter and happier than she's ever seen – and offers her own grin. "Yes. Wouldn't you want to stare at us for three and a half minutes?"
He kisses her, short and chaste and only stumbles a little at the multitasking. "Maybe you. Not so sure about me, the specky git though."
The hand Ginny's rested on his shoulder finds its way into the hair at the nape of his neck, scratching lightly at his scalp. "You're my brawny Auror with the tight butt."
Harry laughs, eyes crinkling behind his glasses, and lets his temple press against the crown of her head. "That might just be your opinion, dear."
"Did you miss the Witch Weekly spread on your bum? Five full pages," Ginny murmurs into his ear, nipping lightly with her teeth.
The song is slowing to a close when Harry pulls away to a more respectable distance, eyes molten as he whispers, "Don't start something you can't finish, Weasley."
"It's Potter. And I have every intention of both of us finishing," Ginny shoots back with a dangerous glint, teeth flashing in the low light.
Before Harry can answer, the song switches to something a little lighter and Ron and Hermione dance over. "Oi! Potter. Hands where I can see 'em," he nods toward where Teddy's 'dancing' with Andromeda, "Or did you forget you had an audience?"
Harry rolls his eyes and leads Ginny away before she can send Ron any more rude gestures, leading her directly into Dudley and his date – Cassandra. Apparently Petunia sends her regards – Dudley delivers this message with an eye roll – and Vernon is still kept in the dark about anything relating to Harry – which is best for everyone involved. Except maybe Vernon's cardiologist. After a handful of casual chit chat, Cassandra departs in search of a refreshments and Dudley's just remarking on the relatively 'muggle safe' celebration when Teddy – blue hair and all – breaks away from Andromeda and lets out a gleeful yelp. They share a laugh between the three of them and Dudley claps Harry on the shoulder, with a promise to catch up after the honeymoon, and heads off to reunite with his date.
By this point, Teddy's managed to clamber across the filling dance floor, chubby legs still a little unsure when he picks up speed, and manages to be close enough when he finally topples that Harry catches him against his legs. "Alright there little man?"
Teddy grins toothily, face flushed, and gestures to indicate his desire to be held. "Wanna dance w' you and Gin-Gin."
And then Teddy's scooped up between them, perched familiarly on Harry's hip while he does this best to loop his arms around their necks, clammy in that way only sweaty little boys can manage. "I thought your dance was going to last forever."
Ginny tosses her head back with laughter, hair already loosening from the updo she'd worked it into that morning. "Sorry to keep you waiting, Ted."
Teddy nods his head, solemn. "S'alright. Gran says it's your two's day so I've got to be patient."
Harry presses a kiss to Teddy's hair as it shifts between orangey red and black, and sends a wink to Andromeda as she watches with a soft smile.
They manage to make it through most of the next two songs before Teddy gets the wiggles and Victoire decides she wants a partner her own size, much to Bill's chagrin. And since Teddy's at that blissful age where he's old enough to move about on his own and young enough that he's not been corrupted with thoughts of 'cooties,' he complies easily, following in Victoire's wake as she wobbles toward the center of the dance floor.
Time passes quickly after that, as the music volleys between slow, romantic ballads, and fast paced tunes that draw even the most reluctant dancers out into the crowd. It's one of the slower more 'adult' numbers when Harry's finally reclaimed Ginny from her brothers that he spots Ron and Hermione looking particularly soppy. "Hey, Gin. Check out old moon-eyed Ron."
Ginny twists them in a circuit a bit to rapidly for the tempo of the song and spots Ron snuggling close, face half full of Hermione's wild curls and loving it.
"How long can we let that go?" Harry asks, smirking.
"I'm torn, because you can bet if we looked like that he'd never let it –," Ginny pauses, eyes narrowing like she's on the pitch watching the game play out, "Oh wait. Decision made. Check out George and Lee, twelve o'clock."
Harry tries to twist nonchalantly in the direction indicated and finds George and Lee slowly working their way through the tables toward the dance floor with unmarked packages tucked under their arms. Briefly, Harry considers trying to get Percy's attention, since Ginny gave him the responsibility of keeping George relatively under control, but Percy's looking rather helplessly pinned down in a conversation with Aunt Muriel, so Harry begins guiding Ginny in a strange dance through the swaying couples until they reach Ron and Hermione. "Can we cut in?"
Hermione blinks rapidly, while Ron turns his scowl on Harry, "We let you two look like a couple of – "
Ginny rolls her eyes, "George is headed this way, with Lee."
Somehow they've managed to keep swaying in relative sync with the song and Harry's still warily watching George's progress through the crowd. "We need to make the switch and disperse," he reasons out quickly before orchestrating the swap and shuffling away with a less desirable Weasley in his arms. "Alright Ron?"
Ron scoffs and grumpily lets his hand settle on Harry's waist. "I'd rather be dancing with my fiancé, so."
"You're welcome for giving up a dance with my new wife to avert disaster," Harry drawls, tipping Ron back into a low dip that earns hearty laughter from Neville and Hannah where they're swaying nearby.
"Because there was certainly no selfish motive there, eh?" Ron asks, lips tilting in a smirk.
Harry sighs but surrenders the point. "Y'know you're not a half bad dancer. Maybe I should've taken you as my date to the Yule Ball."
Once their laughter quiets, Ron throws Harry out and twirls him back in, taking the lead. But by the time Harry's settled back into the rhythm, Ron looks serious. "You two – you and Gin – you'll," Ron pauses, "Take care of each other, yeah?"
"Planning on going somewhere?"
Ron flicks Harry's shoulder. "No. But it'll be different now, you know?"
The corner of Harry's mouth ticks up. "I dunno what I'd've done if you hadn't come into my compartment that day."
"Hopefully still had enough sense to not become Malfoy's crony, even without my expert guidance," Ron volleys, but his smile is soft as he nudges Harry's shoulder.
They rock back and forth for a moment before Harry answers, "But really, all this – me even being alive."
Ron swipes under his eyes and clears his throat. "Well, what're brothers for?"
"According to George?" Harry asks, smirking as his eyes follow George as he fades back into the crowd, prank set aside for a more opportune moment. Which will hopefully never come.
As the song winds to a close, Ron and Harry part and saunter toward the bar to grab a couple drinks. Ron downs a few healthy gulps as Arthur and Ginny take the floor. "Who're you dancing with for the er- well are you even- the mother-son dance?"
Harry's brow furrows. "Y'know I hadn't even considered – I'll go –" and before he finishes his sentence, Harry's already wending his way through the revelers, smiling gratefully as they wish him well, until he reaches the cozy table nestled off the main drag. He ruffles his hair nervously, "Everything alright here?"
Slowly, Professor McGonagall places her gillywater on the table and turns her attention toward Harry, spine straight and proud. "Congratulations, Mr. Potter. Your wedding has been lovely so far."
Smiling politely, Harry readjusts his glasses needlessly while McGonagall watches him expectantly, something he'd only describe as fond in her expression. "Would you er- I forgot to arrange- I need a mum for the mother-son dance and you're – "
McGonagall's eyes widen, silvery at the corners and he almost misses the wiggle at her chin as she stands, ramrod straight and put-together as ever, holding her hand out expectantly. "I had hoped I broke you of your procrastination habit, Mr. Potter."
Taking her hand in his, Harry grins mischievously and McGonagall sucks in a breath, but bites back the words so many have said, and they make their way through the crowd toward the emptying dance floor, Arthur and Ginny returning to their seats.
"I trust you're a better partner since the Yule Ball," McGonagall sniffs, a smile ticking at the corner of her mouth and Harry laughs, short and sharp as she assumes the appropriate stance with textbook accuracy.
Harry twirls her away, sending her deep red robes swirling, and pulls her back. "I'd say somewhat."
Hair somewhat ruffled, McGonagall clears her throat and looks at Harry, lips pinched together in that familiar scowl. "Well at least you've done something of value with your life."
And by the time Harry's processed what she's said, her eyes are twinkling at him, joyous and only slightly tearful. "In truth, Mr. Potter, I couldn't be prouder if you were my son."
"I bet you thank your lucky stars regularly that I'm not," Harry answers with a smirk, leading her around the dance floor while George makes suggestive comments from the sidelines and McGonagall quirks a brow, settling down the little clutch of her Gryffindors with remarkable success, all things considered.
Once Harry's dance with McGonagall comes to a close, the remainder of the reception is an open dance floor; with the cutting of the cake the only scheduled proceedings remaining. After returning McGonagall to her seat with an affectionate squeeze of his hand, Harry peers through the throng searching for his new wife, only to be accosted from behind. "Now that I've caught you alone – "
"Don't let my wife see you, she's a right battle axe," Harry murmurs, pulling Ginny under the crook of his shoulder.
They wander through the tables, greeting guests as they go, until they're pulled to a halt by a broad, beefy hand. "Harry 'n' Ginny Potter!" Hagrid booms, patting Harry on the back hard enough that he nearly stumbles under the assault.
Ginny snickers as Harry tries to subtly roll his shoulders while Charlie lopes over, a shaking package under one arm, "This says it's from you Hagrid, but it's smoking."
Widening his eyes from Hagrid's unrelenting embrace, Harry silently begs Charlie to keep the appearance of wild animals at their wedding to a minimum. Charlie nods, short, and claps a hand on Hagrid's back. "How about we go see what this little bugger's up to."
Hagrid gives the newlyweds one last embrace, even planting a sloppy kiss on Harry's head, before following Charlie out into the wide-open landscape. "I poked holes and left a snack in there."
Once they're out of earshot, Harry and Ginny dissolve into giggles, not relenting until their sides ache and Molly is gesturing emphatically toward the towering wedding cake.
The rest of the reception passes by in a flurry of sweets and dancing and laughter – Ron gets tipsy enough that he decides he would like to propose a toast – and before they know it, the stars are out and Harry and Ginny are set to be off on their honeymoon, disappearing in a swirl of luggage and black tie clothes while George's fire crackers light up the darkening sky.
It's later – much later – when Harry finally collapses against their mussed bed in their dimly lit hotel room, sweaty and content. Ginny pads back from the bathroom, hair wild around her face as she attempts to bring some order to the half pulled down duvet, prodding Harry until he slips beneath the covers.
Ginny twists until she's settled on her stomach, head turned toward the center of the bed while Harry lies on his side, hand rubbing circles across her shoulders. "How goes it, Mr. Potter?"
He grins, teeth a bright flash in the night, and kisses her hand where it's tucked between the pile of pillows. "Never better, Mrs. Potter. This is the 'in health' bit I suppose."
A flush colors Ginny's cheeks at her new name, but otherwise she doesn't falter. "You know, I was thinking about our vows."
"Already trying to back out?" Harry murmurs, pulling her closer so she's splayed across his scarred chest.
Folding her hands over his sternum, Ginny lets her chin settle on the cushion of her fingers. "Nah, just think we need a couple addendums."
Harry strokes up and down her spine with deft fingers, hands landing to stay on her shoulder and lower back while he mulls the idea over. "I was disappointed I didn't figure out how to incorporate 'monthly treacle tarts.'"
Ginny places an errant kiss on his chest. "Well if we're picking vows for each other, I want foot-rubs on demand."
"Maybe I should shoot higher with mine if I've got to smell your – "
His jape gets cut off by a pillow to the face and when he reemerges, Ginny's looming overhead. "Care to rephrase before you continue?"
Her hands trickle up his sides so his muscles loosen, and in a flash she has his arms pinned near the headboard. Harry shifts slightly, testing her grip – which is as strong as he expected – and twitches his brows at her. "So far I'm not getting much incentive to change my tack."
Bending low, Ginny lets her fingertips drag down his arms and skates her lips over his honeyed skin, toward his ear where she murmurs, "You know that feeling, where you almost win the game, but the other team gets the snitch a split second before your hand closes around it?"
Harry drags his hand up her thigh, only half comprehending her, and whispers back, "Yeah?"
And in a flash, Ginny's flopped on her side of the bed, an arm's length of space between them and a victorious smirk on her face. "It'll be ten times worse."
Silence falls and stays, comforting and casual, while Harry's hand finds Ginny's on the bed, both without a stitch of clothing or anything else aside from their rings and Harry's glasses. Thumb rubbing across the back of Ginny's hand, Harry sighs, happy and content as the night settles around them. "I love you."
After a moment, Ginny lifts their joined hands, tracing the veins in Harry's delicately. "When did you?"
Harry twists his head on the pillow, glasses pinching his temple until he readjusts, switching which hand is in Ginny's so he can prop himself up. "When did I love you? It's still ongoing," he smirks, "Thus the wedding."
Ginny shoves his shoulder, then shifts to mirror his position. "Don't be difficult. You know what I mean."
He hums, fiddling with her wedding rings. "I think – it's hard to say an exact moment I felt it. But I know when I was sure."
It's quiet for a moment, only broken by the calming sounds from beyond the French doors at the far end of their suite. Squeezing her fingers, Harry starts again, quiet but sure, "I – you know what happened in the forest," Ginny nods and Harry does the same, somewhat jerky in his movements, his eyes downcast, "Well, my last thought before. It was you."
Her grip on his hand tightens but she nods again and lets him continue, brown eyes warm and comforting in the dim light. "I don't know that I fully realized it until months later. But that's when I was in love with you. That last memory – the promise that it could be real again – it had a hold on me, I wanted it to be real."
Apparently, Ginny's self-restraint has run out by this point, so she shifts close until her face is snug against his throat where his pulse thrums, steady and familiar. "Mine's going to sound shallow now."
Harry's laugh is a low rumble, deep and encouraging. "If you gave up every time I bested you – "
"Are you sure you want to finish that sentence, Potter?" Ginny growls, nipping at his jaw.
They get off track for a bit at that, Harry returning the favor and then some until they're breathless and flushed and Harry's head is pillowed on Ginny's stomach while she scratches at his scalp. "If I wasn't in love with you already, that would've done it."
Harry snorts, blowing a raspberry somewhere in the vicinity of her belly button, before settling back down to wait for her to get back around to an actual answer. With a light sigh, Ginny begins, "It was gradual with me, being in love with you. It's hard to tell exactly when, because I was transitioning from my tongue-tied crush, to friend pretending not to have a crush, to well."
He kisses her, short and gentle at the base of her rib cage.
"You remember that Slug Club party, my fifth year?"
Harry laughs. "Hermione took McLaggen."
"That ponce was a terrible Quidditch player. No sense of sportsmanship," Ginny grumbles, before getting back on track, "You took Luna."
His fingers trickle along her sides, grazing in barely there strokes. "That I did."
"I loved you for that," Ginny murmurs, brushing his fringe back, "She was so lonely. Hardly complained but – I knew. Had to tell off ponces who thought 'Looney Lovegood' was the height of humor more than once."
"You love me because I took Luna to a Slug Club Christmas Party?"
Blowing past his dry recap, Ginny sighs, "I love you because you're far kinder than anyone will ever know, and care for people who may never be able to pay that favor back."
Harry's neck heats and he doesn't answer for a handful of moments, the night dark and inky as it reaches its peak, the moon hidden behind gauzy clouds. When he raises his eyes to hers again, they're wet at the corners, but he sniffs and slides up next to her so they're level once again. "Way to show me up, Weasley. Now it just sounds like I fell in love with you 'cause you're a good snog."
Ginny yawns and tucks herself against his chest, legs tangling with his beneath the tufted blanket and silken sheets. "That's Potter to you."